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> JOIN US ON THE HIGHWAY OF ABOLITION 4444 TEXAS COALITION TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY Dallas Chapter 4 Come to our next meeting: WHEN? Friday, July 21, 2000 Doors open at 7, meeting 7:15 p.m.-9 p.m. WHERE? Paperbacks Plus Bookstore 6115 La Vista Dr. Live Oak @ La Vista, 2nd FLOOR QUESTIONS? CONTACT: [email protected] [email protected] Labastida of the long-ruling \(seventy-one Homogenization on the commercial front notwithstanding, the basic contradictions that occur when a ten-ton North American gorilla couples with a scrawny Mexican burro remain lacerating particularly where the two are physically joined, at the border, with its unceasing wash of drugs and desperate indocumentados. In July 2000, both partners in this unequal affair are glancing over their shoulders to see who the new administrators of their marriage will be. Looking north from Mexico City, George W. Bush appears the more comfortable counterpart for whoever inherits Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. The Governor of a huge border state who speaks Spanish and woos Latino voters, Bush is as zealous an advocate of free trade as was his pop. Across the aisle, Al Gore, a southern politician with a suspiciously Carter-like drawl, seems pathologically uninterested in Mexico. For once, the electoral dynamic south of the border is far more provocative than the stodgy contest up north between candidates of blurred features and visions. The PRI, the longest running political dynasty in the known universe and one which has never lost a presidential election, is suddenly enmeshed in a dogfight with the PAN for control of the Presidency and the Congress. The shifting equations between the two leaders and the left-center Party of the Democratic fifth of the vote and win the capital by an ample margin, provides a fascinating daily display of political pyrotechnics. The three-way interchanges in which Fox, Labastida, and two-time presidential loser Cuauhtemoc Cardenas battle, backbite, and formulate backroom cabals to undercut each others’ candidacies, makes the U.S. race look like a meeting of the Dull Men’s Club. Since 1929, the U.S. has always been quick to endorse a PRI presidential victory in 1988, Ronald Reagan recognized Salinas’ fraud-riddled “triumph” even before the votes were counted. But 2000 could be an exception. With PRI governors accused of sitting on the board of the Cali cocaine cartel \(Mario Villanueva of QuinLabastida, the one-time Governor of the most narco-ridden state in the Mexican goods. Moreover, a party whose highlight film features assassinations, electoral fraud, peso collapse, Indian uprisings, armed guerrilla bands, and a spectacular crime rate, would not appear to meet U.S. national security criteria to govern a nextdoor neighbor. On the flip side of the electoral coin, Vicente Fox, a free enterprise-loving, U.S.-style marketeer \(he ran Coca Cola’s Latin operations for sixteen to U.S. embassy election watchers one Fox team advisor, pleading the nominal anonymity, insists that the PANista has won the unannounced sympathies of hulking U.S. ambassador Jeffrey Davidow. But, in the end, either Bush or Gore is probably going to have to live with the PRI for an other six years, as the official party masses its muscle to win the July 2 election by any means necessary an exercise that could test U.S. national security concerns right away, particularly along the border. In 1985, after the PAN was deprived of the governorship of Chihuahua by PRI fraud, hundreds of Mexicans fled into Texas and the border bridges were shut down. Again in 1989, Cardenistas, stripped of victory in Tamaulipas local elections, rioted and fled north, petitioning for political asylum. At the zenith of Mexico’s 1910-1919 landmark revolution, a conflict set in motion by electoral fraud, tens of ‘thousands sought refuge from political violence in the U.S., forming the nucleus of contemporary Chicano communities in Los Angeles and Chicago. With the Mexican election upon us and the U.S. vote-taking just four months down the pike, the names will soon change at the top of this skewed relationship, but the contradictions down below remain unaltered. Even as Bill Clinton and Ernesto Zedillo embraced for the last time, undocumented Mexican workers were dying out in the Arizona desert \(129 border deaths tons of cocaine were wheeling north into U.S. cities. Six years from now, such contradictions are still going to motor this increasingly bad marriage, one in which geographical propinquity does not allow for divorce. John Ross is the author of The Annexation of Mexico: from the Aztecs to the IMF, and the forthcoming “The War Against Oblivion: Zapatista Chronicles 1994-2000.” JULY 7, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19